TECH TALK: SMEs and Technology: 1:1 Computing

So far, few applications have tended to put the user at the centre. The focus has always been on technology. For example, the knowledge management applications have always focused on top-down approaches. We are saying it should be different put the individual at the centre, and then build things around. When done top-down, there is no incentive for the individual to contribute. In fact, it could even involve a disruption of the persons normal activities. This creates resistance. So, we need to think of it not as a knowledge management problem, but as a user productivity challenge. The question to be answered is: how can we provide the appropriate technology tools for users to do their work better? Along with the tools, the individuals also need training in how to use them a methodology, which may result in change of some habits.

Productivity enhancements works at two basic levels: individual and groups. The enterprise productivity is derived from the other two. The focus needs to be on enabling information flows and capturing the tacit knowledge within. This is what gives the organisation its memory and productivity. Analytics and Business Intelligence software will work at the organisational level.

The focus has to be on (a) ubiquity of technology, and (b) making people more productive via the applications. Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have to genuinely believe that their investment in technology will go a long way in boosting their productivity. The progression is: individual productivity, group collaboration and organisational processes.

In this series, we have discussed various reference architectures: clients, servers, systems software, information management and business applications. The one unifying thread that flows across them is what I describe as 1:1 Computing. This needs to be seen at two levels: one business, one server; and one employee, one computer. The server has all the applications necessary for the enterprise, while the presence of a computer on every desktop creates the foundation for digital processes.

The business goal of 1:1 Computing should be to create a modernised business with a connected computer for every employee to improve productivity by 10% and business profits by 10%. It does so with two key sets of components: the Server, which provides the back-end infrastructure, and the client desktops, which provide the front-end interface. The benefits: reliable messaging and secured enterprise, an increase in individual productivity, improved information flow within groups which builds an organizational memory, and efficient business processes across the organisation.

Technology should thus provide the small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with complete integrated business systems needed to modernise, automate and simplify your business. A 1:1 Enterprise is identified by:

  • A scalable backend infrastructure which provides instant, personalised and cost-effective communications, secures the enterprise, and provides simplified administration of the technology resources.
  • A computer for every employee provides the foundation for personal productivity enhancements and creating the base for electronic capture and flow of information.
  • A suite of applications that powers an information refinery and ensures an intelligent, event-driven, real-time enterprise.

    A 1:1 Enterprise is what SMEs should aspire to be. The power of 1:1 does not stop with just the technology infrastructure. It extends to the way SMEs view their relationships with their customers and vendors. The 1:1 Computing infrastructure provides the foundation for the 1:1 Enterprise.

    Next Week: SMEs and Technology (continued)

    TECH TALK SMEs and Technology+T

  • Published by

    Rajesh Jain

    An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.